Children

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“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”  Matt. 19:14

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”  Matt. 18:5

Children are members of our community. At Life on the Vine, we share the responsibility as a community of caring, supporting, and encouraging children to worship God. And it is not only the children who benefit from this!  We believe that God’s Spirit is working in the life of a child just as much as He is working in the life of an adult. When we minister to a child, we are invited into the work and presence of Christ who is already at work and present in this child’s life, and we are blessed as we witness this.

Children experience the welcome of Christ in the Eucharist.  The children come with their parents to the Lord’s Table to receive a blessing.  We often say, “While you wait for baptism, this is the body of Christ broken for you.”  We pray a blessing on each child, expecting God to already be at work in them, even as they await baptism and participation in the Lord’s Supper.

Children are invited into a life of worship.  After the Scripture reading, the children are dismissed to their worship.  We say “The Lord be with you as you worship.”  They respond – “And also with you.”

Ages

Seedlings.  (Nursery – infants under the age of 2) The nursery is a safe and loving environment for infants and toddlers to play freely with supervision and hear informally presented Bible stories. Children are encouraged in interactive play and crafts.

Blossoms.  (Ages 2 – 3)
The children are introduced to simple yet structured lessons that involve both quiet listening and active play.  Even at this young age, our vision is to introduce our children to a life of worship – listening to a God who speaks to us daily, and responding to Him by surrendering our lives to Him.

What does this look like?

We welcome each child as they enter the room and invite them into play time.

Intentional play time is directed toward the Story that day.

After this, we gather around our worship table to hear a short Story from Scripture.

The children are then invited to respond actively through a game, craft, or activity as we begin to foster in them a rhythm of hearing from God and responding to Him.

Grapes.  (Ages 4 – 9)
Using the Young Children and Worship model, children are learning how to listen and respond to God in the same pattern of worship as the rest of the congregation.

What does this look like?

We welcome the children into the worship room by reminding them that this is a place where God is present with us, and we can talk more softly and walk more slowly because we have all the time we need to hear from Him and respond to Him.

Gathering around the worship table, the children hear a story in a way that engages many of their senses. At the end of the story, we pause and ask “wondering questions.”  These questions give the children the freedom to reflect over the Story, to think more deeply about God and the characters in the story, and to learn how to hear God speaking to them.

They are invited into a time of response.  Guides sit with children to help them tune their ears to how God is speaking to them through the Story.

We gather again in a circle to share how God has spoken to us, to share what we are thankful for this week, and to pray for one another.

On the way out, the guides pray for and bless each child.

Journey into Jesus.  This class is for any person preparing for baptism.  It begins during the season of Lent leading up to baptisms on Easter and then continues to meet a month afterward.
Parents often discern a child’s readiness around the ages of 9 or 10.